When evaluating the Colorado Rockies first 45 games of this 2014 baseball season several players standout. Whether it’s Troy Tulowitzki reminding Rockies fans that when healthy he’s an MVP candidate or Charlie Blackmon’s emergence in the outfield, Rockies fans have a lot to be pleased about.
However, the unexpected play of newcomer Jordan Lyles makes him the purple and blacks best player so far.
Lyles, the 38th overall selection of the Huston Astros in 2008 armature draft, arrived in the centennial state back in December as part of the deal that sent Dexter Fowler to Huston. Once considered the future ace of the Astros staff, Lyles posted a disappointing 14-29 career record in his only three season with the Astros.
A change of scenery and leagues this season seems to be paying off for Lyles as he currently holds a surprising 5-1 record along with a club best 3.50 ERA. Looking even deeper into Lyles early 2014 performance lends more truth to Lyles being the Rockies best player in the early going of the 2014 season. Of Lyles nine starts this season he has pitched at least six innings and has given up fewer than 3 earned runs in all but three of his starts this season. If Lyles last start against the San Diego Padres, in which he went 3.1 innings giving up six earned runs and walking six batters is overlooked as a mere fluke, than Lyles numbers improve to a 5-0 mark along with a 2.66 ERA.
Lyles consistency on the mound adds to his importance and overall strong performance with his new club this season. While other Rockies pitchers have struggled with injuries or inconsistent play this season (Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, and Jorge De La Rosa), Lyles has been a model of consistency on the mound for a franchise unaccustomed to pitching consistency.
Overall, Lyles numbers stand as a happy outlier of the Rockies 2014 pitching staff. Currently, the Rockies staff holds a 4.09 ERA, which is 22nd in baseball, and their 22 quality starts this season ranks them at 18th best in the big leagues. Those numbers may seem pedestrian to anyone unfamiliar with the Rockies pitching staff in the last few years, but ardent Rockies fans know just how refreshing this season pitching has been compared to the last few years.
While Lyles is no longer considered the future ace of any staff, his early performance in the 2014 season gives hope to the possibility of a long and fruitful career in the majors as a number two or three starter. So far Rockies fans are seeing what Lyles was meant to be in Huston, a solid starter who so far this season has turned in the most unexpected and impressive performance for the Rockies.